What turns you on? People, Performance or Process?

What turns you on?


Do you have a natural inclination to be drawn to one of these three options?

Are you one who is accommodating and generally fueled by the interests of people?

Or, is it the outcome and in particular the performance that draws your attention?

Then there is process, are you more interested in how things work or come together?

I'm a performance person. Today I set me kids a challenge chart and they are busy building a boat at the moment. They've decided to make it a competition which excites me even more!

Whether you are a people, performance or a process driven person, you've got to understand that your communication preference doesn't work for others if you're driven by different motives. Fortunately, my two kids are excited with most challenges, so I talk in the 'performance' language - my native tongue!

With the constant change in our lives, we must be multi-lingual to ensure we maintain our relationships rather than mismanage them. Many folks are bi-lingual, they have two preference e.g. people & performance or process & people. This is more complex to interpret and many play the guessing game rather than get smart with their communications.

If you don't know the motivation language of your team or anyone who you have a vested interest in - then we need to talk ... now!

Leadership Basics


I've been working with two dynamic women who operate a small business who called for help when they realised their desired business culture wasn't being experienced.

When we first met, I listened to their issues, concerns, wants and requirements and I identified immediately their glaring need: Leadership Basics.

We take for granted that we all have some experience and understanding of leadership however I was totally surprised that the entry level of leadership was required. Their personalities appeared quite different and it was interesting to observe how they communicated with their staff and each other.

To meet their urgency of 'help' I facilitated a meeting to demonstrate how to engage, involve, set standards, provide feedback and gain commitment and accountability with their staff. Following this meeting, I wrote a personalised Leadership Basics Plan - a day by day approach of how to leverage off the meeting. Finally, I hosted a coaching session using the TotalSDI* profile tool to help them build a plan to further develop their relationship building capacity.

In our world, we're bombarded with articles, books, tweets and quotes about the latest leadership skill, quality and strength needed to be successful. So, we can be forgiven when we ignore the need to build the foundations of leadership; the basics which include: two way conversations, listening and not interrupting, being consistent in our positive behaviour, providing feedback to reinforce and correct and the need to continually review how effective we are at being a leader.


By implementing this Leadership Basics Plan, the initial request of fixing the culture crash will be a natural outcome of being consistent in their leadership (if they stick to the plan!)

*TotalSDI is the newly branded title of Strength Deployment Inventory. We're about to launch a new look and new packages. It's totally awesome.

Visit my website page Leadership Basics

Which Conversation Is Necessary?

Last week, I was work-shopping 'Coaching' with a small group of leaders and a 'problem' case study was presented by a member of the group to use as an opportunity to practise their understanding of coaching and new found knowledge. We were briefed by the leader and the group/team of coaches commenced using the GROW model to uncover the purpose of the conversation goal.

After five minutes of questioning, the group realised that they were all feeling the same, challenged by the behaviour of the 'coachee' (which was being well acted); they were unable to create a space which created a dialogue . The coachee was a 'closed shop' and their behaviour was appalling and unhelpful. 

The group was stumped.

I then posed this question to the group, "Which type of conversation is necessary in this situation?"  And, is Coaching appropriate?

It was concluded that the conversation required an approach which dictated the expectations of the workplace, one which acknowledged the condoned behaviours and an agreement of the facts and the course of action required. This conversation was at the opposite end of the spectrum where coaching starts. 

We can be ineffective as leaders if we don't use our time wisely, determining the necessary conversation and the appropriate timing - rather than wasting time and that of others. The spectrum of leadership conversations is vast and ranges from:

Dialogue - to understand

Discussion - to agree or disagree based on the understanding

Decision - to chose a course of action from the agreement/disagreement

Direction - to guide movement towards achieving an action

Dictate - to confront with facts and advise the course of action

Once you've decided on the purpose of the conversation, then it's time to consider the questions and commentary to drive it. Practise makes an effective leader!

Can We Co-exist?

Can We Co-exist In The Office, Roads ... In Life?

I'm on the edge of my seat watching the concluding episodes of Cordon - a Belgium drama being aired on SBS in Australia. We peer into peoples' lives in the fish bowl as they are cordoned off  due to a virus outbreak - required to co-exist with people - in particular, an office team living in their workplace.

On the radio this morning, John Faine #abc774 questioned if motorists and cyclists can co-exist on the roads? We were asked as listeners to consider if  it's our attitude and behaviour which is causing the 'dooring' deaths in our suburbs.

When people are forced to share the same space in a work environment (we generally don't get the chance to choose our work colleagues, let alone the team reporting to us) we survive or lead.

Survival is all about me! Focusing on what works for me and what the device in my hand tells me! We consider what's best for ourselves first before thinking or feeling for others.

Leading to co-exist is all about assessing, observing, reading and 'smelling' the culture & climate of the community and being the person which the people need and what the situation requires. 

Pushing peoples' panic button by urging them to do what is outside their personality comfort zone are potentially necessary for 'survival' (whether it's to live through an epidemic or arrive home safe from a bike-ride) however, it's your approach and attitude which will determine the outcome.

Yes we can co-exist and it does take an inordinate continuous effort and great leadership.

Clues, Cues & Signals

Leading people, building relationships, minimising team conflict and generally surviving in a world of egos, personalities and behaviours can be challenging; to say the least. 

However, if we listen for cues, watch for signals and pick up on clues in behaviour we can make the challenge an opportunity to better understand these people better.

 Clues: This is the breakthrough for understanding people. People are creatures of habit and will give you regular clues as to what they are doing, feeling & thinking. Look for patterns and inconsistencies - get to know the behaviours of others when they are in a 'good' zone and what might push them to a 'non-productive' zone - you're literally piecing together the human puzzle.

Cues: When people talk, they generally have a break in speech especially if in conversation. Too often we are thinking about what we want to say next rather than listening, hearing the intent and waiting for the cue to add to the discussion. This alone is a great relationship building behaviour.

Signals: I run with a regular group and we work on signals to indicate direction, drink break time, increase pace etc. We can go without talking for over an hour!  What signals do you use when working with people? A smile, a thumbs up and other expressions can help others understand how you feel, what you think and want to do. Don't leave it to perception!

I help people cheat with Clues, Cues & Signals using the Strength Deployment Inventory however you can do this yourself by making a practice of becoming more aware of others - especially if you're the leader. They may follow and practise the same.


Working with different groups of people over recent weeks, it has been interesting to note the increasing participation in any discussion around ‘conversations’.

Whether those discussions were around peoples’ performance, difficult customer scenarios or asking a tough question, everyone was eager to understand models and methods to help them discover a dialogue which they could control and implement.

In a society which is gripped with digital advancement and powerful social media, our skill development is diminishing in relationship building and defusing conflict.  The way we communicate face-to-face, over the telephone and via our fingers (twitter, email etc.) requires thought, skill and a selection of behaviours.

Your role as leader can be simplified if you are positive & consistent when you communicate – YES, you are the role model and are the ‘lead’ role in this activity. So, here are some tips to prepare for your conversations:

Choose the mode of communication to match the message – human or digital or a blend - it's easy to type with emotion and be misunderstood whereas human interface is far more effective to keep on track with the purpose

Consider who you are communicating with – do they have a communication style preference - try and match it or use the opportunity to help them learn e.g. passive to assertive

Determine if the message should leave a legacy – use a hash-tag if you wish to keep it alive - keep it face-to-face if you want to keep it private 

Seek feedback from others to understand if your message works – test it, practise it, draft it - once it's out in the public, it's difficult to retrieve

Do Communicate beyond your normal style – your influence must be a blend to converse with the people you lead - multiple simultaneous conversations are now an expectation - each is as important as the other

This week I have introduced people to Twitter, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Google Drive in the digital sphere of communication, coached face-to-face for several hours and spent a day on the telephone talking to people. I have my conversation preferences, however I challenge myself to learn what works for others.

How will you broaden your communication skills today to lead more effective conversations next week?